10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 23


If Arsenal wanted to feel confident going into its first Premier League meeting with Manchester City this Wednesday, it could’ve served itself better than losing to Everton and drawing Brentford.

No shots at the opposition in question — especially the Bees — but while Man City dispatched Aston Villa and looks very much ready to defy their doubters and take back first place, Arsenal looked like a team that hasn’t been there feeling its way through a rut.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Will it climb out of that rut on Wednesday? Because the Gunners showed us the ability to win when not at their best earlier this season — and may be claiming the same after Saturday’s match if VAR was behaving itself — but Man City and Manchester United are doing that now and threatening to have the Gunners as low as third by some time in March.

What did we learn from the Premier League this weekend? Here’s where our writers are living, as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.

10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 23

1. Here come the (aggrieved) champions (Man City 3-1 Aston Villa): If Pep Guardiola knew the 100+ charges filed against Manchester City this week would inevitably occur, he’d probably thank the “other 19 teams” for whatever happened that made the Premier League announce the charges this week. Guardiola’s previously morose two-time defending champions took about two minutes to get the ball from Villa and then never really let it go, scoring thrice in the first half and setting the stage for Wednesday’s huge clash at Arsenal where a win will send City atop Arsenal on goal differential (The Gunners will have a match-in-hand regardless of what happens Wednesday). Unai Emery’s Villa was well-prepared and it just didn’t matter in the long run. City anywhere near its best for any period of time — in this case it was about 40 minutes — is too much for almost anyone. And that’s the message City wanted to send to wobbled Arsenal ahead of Wednesday’s big clash in North London. (NM)

2. Extra quality, momentum makes difference in Leeds vs Man Utd, pt. 2 (Leeds 0-2 Man Utd): This was a very even game but the extra quality of Manchester United’s players, especially in attack, made the difference. The fact that Erik ten Hag’s side have been in sensational form in recent months helped too as they just had an extra air of confidence when they got in the final third compared to Leeds. That is understandable given where both teams are on the Premier League table, and manager-less Leeds can take a lot of positives from their two displays against Manchester United this week. However, this was a case of very good players figuring out a way to get past a stubborn opponent and doing just enough to get the win. Manchester United are far from fluid right now but Erik ten Hag was able to rotate his squad, get the win, and keep their brilliant resurgent going. (JPW)

3. Arsenal wobbles again ahead of massive Man City match (Arsenal 1-1 Brentford): Look at the traditional stats and you’ll be wondering just how Arsenal failed to fully bounce back from its surprise loss to Everton. Mikel Arteta’s men had 69 percent of the ball at home and out-attempted the Bees 23-9, completing 509 passes compared to just 180 for Brentford. The Bees won the xG battle by a 2.37-1.68 margin and FotMob credits them with three ‘big chances’ to Arsenal’s one. If Arsenal is going to contend for a Premier League title — really contend for it — it can’t afford many two-match stretches in which they claim just a single point, especially if those matches are against Everton away and Brentford at home (although the Gunners will be fuming with reports that VAR did not draw offside lines on what appears to be a clear offside in the buildup to Brentford’s goal). All that said: Beat Man City at home on Wednesday and you might just be uncatchable. It’s a big one, and Arsenal’s been waiting all year to pass a test like this. (NM)

4. Chelsea fails to click in final third (West Ham 1-1 Chelsea): Chelsea looked superb in the first half as they scored a beauty with Enzo Fernandez’s perfectly-timed pass over the top to Joao Felix and they scored two others when they were just offside. The runs were good — just mistimed — and when this clicks for Chelsea in the final third it will be a joy to watch. However, it is all very clunky right now and that is to be expected with so many new signings in the starting lineup together. Fernandez ticked things over nicely in midfield and Chelsea had plenty of the ball but they just couldn’t control the tempo of the game for the full 90 minutes. Mykhailo Mudryk and Felix looked sharp in attack but the problem for Graham Potter is that he has so many options in his squad and he still doesn’t seem to know his best lineup. He will find that out soon but right now a top-four finish still seems a very long way away for Chelsea. (JPW)

5. Leicester hammers lifeless Tottenham as Conte returns from absence (Leicester 4-1 Spurs): A victory would have sent Tottenham over Newcastle for fourth place in the Premier League table (temporarily, at least) and to within one point of 3rd-place Manchester United. And an early lead sure would’ve had Tottenham feeling good. Spurs jumped ahead 1-0 in rather fortuitous circumstances, as Victor Kristiansen played the ball across the face of his own goal for Rodrigo Bentancur to guide into an empty net. That was as good as things would get as Antonio Conte returned from a one-game absence following gallbladder surgery, as the Tottenham defense was pulled apart every which way by Leicester’s pace and directness. To add injury to insult, Bentancur left the game in significant pain after appearing to injure his knee in the second half.(AE)

6. Improving Cherries show Newcastle second gear won’t do (Bournemouth 1-1 Newcastle): Bournemouth’s getting better and Newcastle’s results are meeting their performances more often than they did earlier in the season. Some would say the Magpies had an eye toward the League Cup Final, but that would mean the side would also be looking past a visit from Liverpool next Saturday. No, its more likely that Eddie Howe’s men, still missing suspended Bruno Guimaraes, are just a bit down right now. Bournemouth’s added danger and will no longer inevitably allow two goals per game. Dango Ouattara is a breath of fresh air on the right side and it’s fitting the Marcos Senesi put them in front because he’s been solid in defense all year. It’s a deserved point for Bournemouth at home, and a big reminder for Newcastle ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League followed by Man United in a cup final. (NM)

7. Bees buzz at the right time to keep Arsenal wobbly (Arsenal 1-1 Brentford): Ivan Toney’s had a wild journey from Newcastle’s next big thing to Brentford’s now big thing, and he’s right up there with Harry Kane as the most complete center forwards in the league right now. Throw in an in-form Mathias Jensen and rightly acknowledge Ben Mee as a potential signing of the season (in any season without Erling Haaland), and Brentford deserves its 10-match Premier League unbeaten run. (NM)

8. Nathan Jones’ Southampton end is a nasty one (Southampton 1-2 Wolves): The way Southampton collapsed in the second half was embarrassing at St. Mary’s. In a season of incredible lows for the team who sit rock bottom of the Premier League, this was the lowest point. 1-0 up at home with 17 minutes to go, playing against 10 men for most of the game, Saints shrunk and Wolves’ equalizer was coming. Southampton never recovered from that and it looked like the Saints were playing with 10 men in the second half. Nathan Jones had to change the tactics and the personnel but he didn’t. He let Wolves get back in the game and this defeat was the end for him as a Premier League manager this season. After four months, it is not working. Saints somehow still had a chance of saving themselves this season and they had to act now. (JPW)

9. Mixed feelings for Seagulls after away point (Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton): A painful howler by goalkeeper Robert Sanchez cost Brighton two points, as they settled for a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in the M23 derby at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Aside from Sanchez’s temporary loss of hand functionality, Brighton was its typically brilliant self in possession, as they racked up 2.36 xG on 17 shots (5 on target), compared to just 0.89 (6 shots, 2 on target) for Crystal Palace (25 points – 12th place). So, yeah, mixed feelings for Brighton regarding the result. Their unbeaten run is now five games (3W-2D), but they could have moved within two points of fifth-place Tottenham after Spurs were hammered by Leicester on Saturday. (AE)

10. Fulham chipping away at European surprise as Forest keeps fighting (Fulham 2-0 Nottingham Forest): Fulham has a lot of class and is playing very much in the image of its fiery, up-tempo manager Marco Silva. Willian looks better than he has in ages — that goal! — and Andreas Pereira has found the level Manchester United thought he would when it tried to get him into star mode. But it’s the back and Bernd Leno who looks the best, very difficult to break down. Tim Ream honestly is a sleeper Best XI center back option if Fulham qualifiers for Europe and Antonee Robinson, Issa Diop, and Kenny Tete also look good. Forest’s excuses are helped by the fact that  Chris Wood was Forest’s center forward to start but Emmanuel Dennis didn’t start any fires when he got into the mix and Taiwo Awoniyi’s still out hurt. Forest can feel good about the future but Cooper’s again been asked to reorganize his best options and that just isn’t a healthy cycle. (NM)

Player ratings: USMNT thumps Grenada in Nations League


The USMNT kicked off the 2026 World Cup cycle as the Yanks reconvened (the first team, at least) for the first time since the 2022 tournament in Qatar, in a 7-1 victory Grenada on Friday.

[ MORE: Folarin Balogun to USMNT? “It’s something that will come to me” ]

Who stood out (for better and for worse) as the USMNT thumped Grenada?

USMNT player ratings vs Grenada

GK – Matt Turner: 6 – Faced just three shots on target (0.36 xG), made two saves and watched helplessly as a screamer from outside the box hit the back of the net.

RB – Bryan Reynolds: 6.5 – The USMNT focused the vast majority of its attacking play down the left side of the field, making Reynolds the target of a handful of cross-field switches as he played the full 90 minutes.

CB – Mark McKenzie: 7 – Teamed up with his former center back partner from his Philadelphia Union days, McKenzie was tasked with being the far and away the senior figure and leader of the defense on Friday (his 10 caps were four more than the rest of the back-four combined).

CB – Auston Trusty: 7 – A solid performance in his USMNT debut for the 24-year-old Arsenal defender (on loan to Birmingham City, where he has appeared in 37 games in the Championship thus far). With nearly 70 percent of possession on the night, there aren’t many better opportunities to get your feet wet at the senior international level.

LB – Joe Scally: 7.5 – Do not get overly excited about a 20-year-old’s performance against Grenada. I repeat, do not get overly excited about a 20-year-old’s performance against Grenada. That said, does the USMNT have… two left backs?

DM – Luca de la Torre: 7 – It would be unwise to assign too much value to a game that finished 7-1 against the no. 173-ranked nation in the world, but one thing is for certain and has been proven on a number of occasions: LdlT is a smooth operator as a ball-playing defensive midfielder, and he showed himself quite capable further up the field, in and around the opposing penalty area, on Friday as well.

CM – Weston McKennie: 8 – Two goals (both off of free kicks) for the newly acquired Leeds midfielder, which would be an incredibly welcome development for a side that hasn’t made enough of its set pieces in recent times.

CM – Gio Reyna: 6.5 – This was the solid, if unspectacular, return that Reyna needed after weeks of off-field controversy surround himself, his family and former (but perhaps future) head coach Gregg Berhalter. There were plenty of fireworks elsewhere in the team on Friday, and Reyna managed to come through the game unscathed.

RW – Brenden Aaronson: 7 – It’s been a tough first season in the Premier League for Aaronson, so his first-half goal will hopefully provide a much-needed boost in confidence (his first goal, for club or country, in any competition, since Aug. 21, his third game for Leeds).

CF – Ricardo Pepi: 8 – Aside from scoring the opening goal, Pepi was active and involved in much of what the USMNT tried to do going forward in the first half. Given how deep Grenada sat defensively to begin the game, the Yanks could have taken the easy way out — staying wide and crossing the ball repeatedly — every time down the field, but there appeared to be a concerted effort to combine through the middle of the field, which meant Pepi had to be sharp and quick with his movement to create space for Reyna, Aaronson and Christian Pulisic. Speaking of building confidence, how about the finish for his second goal…

LW – Christian Pulisic: 8 – Ho hum. Just a one-goal, two-assist performance from Pulisic. As previously discussed, the USMNT found infinite joy down the left side of attack and Pulisic was at the center of most of it (for 64 minutes, at least).

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

1 Comment

If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.

Now we are approaching the final few months of the campaign, it is so tight up and down the Premier League table.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

As we head into the final months of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest and although Manchester United briefly surged into the picture, they look more likely to cement their spot as the third best team in the Premier League.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

What about the top four and European places?

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle and for the moment have hunted down Newcastle, while Liverpool is back in the Champions League picture after their return to form and Chelsea looks like a top six finish is their ceiling. For now.

Surprising Fulham, Brentford, and Brighton are all hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns. Can one of them surprise and qualify for Europe?

Who are the candidates for relegation?

Southampton, West Ham, and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table.

Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Wolves, Leeds, Everton and Crystal Palace all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three as the race to stay in the Premier League intensifies. This could be the craziest relegation scrap in Premier League history.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.

Premier League table – March 19

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard

Follow @AndyEdMLS

England vs Ukraine: How to watch live, team news, updates


England host Ukraine in a UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier at Wembley with an extremely emotional atmosphere expected in London.

[ LIVE: EURO 2024 qualifying scores – England vs Ukraine ]

As the war rages on across Ukraine following the Russia invasion just over a year ago, the United Kingdom have been one of Ukraine’s key partners in the fight against Russian forces.

The English Football Association have given away close to 1,000 free tickets to Ukrainians who were forced to flee their country and resettle with families in the UK. Over 4,200 Ukraine fans will be in the away end at Wembley amid a sea of blue and yellow and you can expect plenty of mutual respect and support from fans of both countries towards each other. This match is Ukraine’s first of 2023, as they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup after losing to Wales in a playoff last summer.

[ MORE: Full EURO 2024 qualifying schedule, standings ]

England beat Italy 2-1 in Naples on Thursday as Harry Kane became their all-time leading goalscorer with his 54th goal for the Three Lions and they held on after going 2-0 up as Luke Shaw’s red card with 10 minutes to go complicated matters. Gareth Southgate’s young side are developing but will they be able to finally win a major tournament?

They have to qualify for the Euros in Germany next summer first, but a first win away in Italy since 1961 was a great start to this qualifying campaign.

Here’s everything you need for England vs Ukraine.

How to watch England vs Ukraine live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 12pm ET, Sunday (March 26)
Updates: Via NBCSports.com
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London

Key storylines, in-form players

The last time this nations met England ran out 4-0 winners in the quarterfinals of EURO 2020. They will be the heavy favorites in this game but Ukraine should not be underestimate as the No. 26 ranked team in the world have the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mykhailo Mudryk and Vitalii Mykolenko all playing in the Premier League.

England’s forwards ran riot in the first half against Italy with Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka sensational, plus Jude Bellingham’s driving runs from midfield give this Three Lions side an extra dimension. There is more creativity and cutting edge about this England side compared to recent years and it feels like they are ready to win something. There will be a ceremony before this game to honor Harry Kane becoming England’s all-time goalscorer as he passed Wayne Rooney with his goal in Italy on Thursday.

England team news, lineup options

Luke Shaw will be suspended for this game after his red card in Italy, so Kieran Trippier or Ben Chilwell will come in at left back. It is likely Jordan Henderson will come in for Kalvin Phillips in midfield, while Phil Foden could start over Jack Grealish out wide. Reece James and Conor Gallagher could also come into the team as Bellingham limped off towards the end of England’s win against Italy.

Ukraine team news, lineup options

Andriy Yarmolenko (three goals away from equalling Andriy Shevchenko as Ukraine’s all-time leading scorer) has been struggling with a hamstring injury so he may start on the bench, while Bournemouth’s Ilya Zabarnyi and Shakhtar’s Oleksandr Zubkov are both out. Yevhen Konoplyanka and Roman Yaremchuk offer real quality in attack, while Zinchenko is the heartbeat of this Ukraine side.

USMNT kicks off 2026 World Cup cycle with 7-1 win in Grenada


The USMNT scored early and often, as they cruised to a 7-1 victory over Grenada in CONCACAF Nations League action in St. George’s on Friday.

[ MORE: Folarin Balogun to USMNT? “It’s something that will come to me” ]

The victory puts the USMNT (7 points) atop Group D with one game left to play, against El Salvador (5 points – 2nd place) on Monday.

The Yanks got on the board in the 4th minute, and it was a sensational cross from Christian Pulisic which found Ricardo Pepi atop the six-yard box. Pepi used the considerable pace on Pulisic’s cross to head the ball down and out of goalkeeper Jason Belfon’s reach.

Brenden Aaronson made it 2-0 in the 21st minute, as the Leeds attacked received the ball atop the 18-yard box, turned into open space and cut inside before firing a right-footed finish hard and low to the near post.

Weston McKennie made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark, as he smashed an off-balance, left-footed volley home after his initial header on Pulisic’s free kick was blocked. Two minutes after Myles Hippolyte fired a laser past Matt Turner (a minute later McKennie’s first goal), the recently acquired Leeds midfielder struck again to make it 4-1, applying the final touch after Auston Trusty headed the ball down after another free kick from Pulisic.

[ MORE: Three key questions for USMNT in March ]

The USMNT jumped on Grenada just as quickly when the second half began, with Pulisic putting his name on the scoresheet in the 49th minute. Luca de la Torre found Pulisic cutting in from the left wing, and the ball somehow found its way past Belfon for 5-1.

Four minutes later, De la Torre played a slightly trickier through ball to spring Pepi in behind the Grenadine defense, and Pepi made no mistake with his one-on-one chance against Belfon. Pepi, who is currently on loan to Gronigen from Augsburg, waited for the goalkeeper to go down one way and coolly slotted the ball the other way.

Alejandro Zendejas, who recently elected to represent the USMNT internationally, became cap-tied to the USMNT when he came off the bench in the 64th minute. Eight minutes later, the 25-year-old winger got his first senior international goal.

Start of a new World Cup cycle = a clean slate

For all intents and purposes, the USMNT kicked off the 2026 World Cup cycle on Friday, with the first team reconvening for the first time since the 2022 tournament in Qatar. A new World Cup cycle means brand new opportunities for new players, and a fresh start for those who didn’t get the starts or appearances that they thought they should have.

The net will be cast far and wide as the rest of 2023 sees the USMNT (likely) head to the finals of the Nations League and then the Gold Cup, with a handful of players seemingly coming from out of nowhere to claim consistent call-ups ahead of Copa America 2024 (on U.S. soil once again). There will be even more opportunities than usual for fringe players to make a case, with the Yanks automatically qualifying for the 2026 tournament as hosts.

What’s next?

The USMNT will host El Salvador in a winner-take-all Group D finale on Monday (7:30 pm ET), at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The group winner will qualify for the finals (four teams) of the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League (June 15-18) as well as the 2023 Gold Cup (June 24-July 16); the group runners-up will also qualify for this summer’s Gold Cup.

Follow @AndyEdMLS

How to watch Grenada vs USMNT live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 8pm ET, Friday (March 24)
Stadium: Kirani James Athletic Stadium, St. George’s
TV in English: TNT
TV/streaming en Español: Universo/Peacock

[ LIVE: CONCACAF Nations League scores – Grenada vs USMNT ]

USMNT squad

Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders (8): Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City)

Midfielders (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Sonora (Juarez), Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar)

Forwards (6): Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America)

EDIT: Tim Weah (Lille) was originally called up, but exited due to a head injury.

Follow @AndyEdMLS